Hélène Guinepied was an exquisitely talented artist whose personal Art Nouveau style gained her significant recognition in her life time. Born in Brinon, Burgundy, she worked and lived in Paris where she trained with the celebrated painters Jules Adler, Gervais and Schommer before embarking on a successful career. Her exquisite draughtsmanship and intensely colourful style found an enthusiastic audience both in France - where she exhibited at the Grand Palais in 1911, Salon des Indépendants in 1912, and Salon des Arts Appliqués with the Société des Artistes Décorateurs in 1921.
In "La Legende de la Riviere", which dates from around 1920, we are immediately struck by the expressive quality of the landscape. The entire view is subordinated to the mood and expression, every element in the picture is suggestive and underlines the general atmosphere. Here, Guinepied adopts a compositional method reminiscent of Munch’s soul landscapes of the 1890s, in which the horizon, the sky and the clouds, the trees and the vegetation down to the tiniest details were intertwined, literally and symbolically, with the protagonist. The meandering lines rhythmically articulate the mystical emotional atmosphere, as if through waves, a process that can also be found in some of Piet Mondrian’s landscapes of the period. Similarly, Guinepied symbolises nature, perceiving it as a living, receptive and responding entity.
Recently an association has been established to revive the reputation of this wonderful artist and organise a museum exhibition, see: